Friday, 7 October 2016

A Puzzle in 1930ties Morocco. Review of "The Saffron gate"

Set mostly in 1930ties Morocco this book is a puzzle in a puzzle. When you think you know what is going on the cards are reshuffled again.

The books starts off as a typical romance story but that is just the beginning to set the stage. So for guys it is also appropriate reading hahahaha. 

American Sidonie always lived a very sheltered life after she became an invalid at a very young age. On her way to becoming an old spinster she falls in love with a doctor who treats her. He is he tells her originally a Frenchman from Marrakech in Morocco what was then a French colony.

When she finds out she is pregnant they start planning a wedding but the next day Etienne seems to have disappeared. The only clue she can find is a letter from what looks like a sister in Morocco. Sidonie boards a ship to go and look for answers from this sister.

That is something that sounded less believable to me as I cannot imagine a not so worldwise woman in those days just going to an Arab country. But on the other hand fatherless children were a real problem those days and I can imagine you also want to know answers.

You would expect the sister to be a French lady who will help find her brother but things turn out to be completely different when in the medina in Marrakech the saffron gate opens and a Moroccan woman looks out.

Is Etienne not French but Arab (What made quite a difference in those days)? Is the sister who she says she is or is she Etienne's lover? There is a small Moroccan boy. Is he Etienne's child? Who is his father? And who is that Moroccan gentleman who frequents the house of the sister? Is he the boys father and the lover of the sister? What does he want from Sidonie? And where is Etienne? And what does his research on heriditary illnesses play in all of this? Like I said one puzzle after the other.

I really enjoyed reading the book and can certainly recommend it. For more information and places to buy (The Kindle edition on Amazon is less then 3 dollar) see the reviews from and links to Amazon.com and Bol.com below.

 ****
 
On Amazon: When a tragic accident shatters Sidonie O'Shea's sheltered life in upstate New York, doctor Etienne Duverger helps her find hope again. Etienne introduces Sidonie to a world beyond her four walls and, as her body begins to heal, they fall in love. But when Etienne disappears, leaving nothing behind but a letter from Morocco, Sidonie decides to follow him to Marrakech. She embarks on a treacherous journey, desperate for answers. Yet nothing can prepare for her what she is about to discover, both about the man she loves and an unknown country steeped in mystery, magic and the darkest of secrets...



 ****

Review found on Bol.com (In Dutch)

De jonge Amerikaanse Sidonie (ik-personage) leidt een gemoedelijk leven met haar verloofde Etienne, nadat ze zware tijden heeft meegemaakt - haar ouders zijn overleden en ze is gehandicapt geraakt. Wanneer ze hem vertelt dat ze in verwachting is, verdwijnt hij plotseling: Sidonie heeft geen idee waar hij is. Dan vindt ze een brief van Etienne's zus Manon en ze besluit af te reizen naar Marokko, zijn geboorteland. In Marrakech ontmoet ze zijn zus, die beweert dat hij is overleden. Wanneer ze een man leert kennen die haar verloofde goed heeft gekend, begint het grote geheim rond de verdwijning zich langzaam te ontrafelen. Deze roman, die zich afspeelt in de jaren dertig van de twintigste eeuw, geeft een helder beeld van de destijdse situatie in Marokko. Hoewel de daden van het hoofdpersonage soms wat ongeloofwaardig overkomen, weet de auteur een mooie samenhang te maken tussen avontuur en romantiek. De rijke sfeerbeschrijvingen van de Marokkaanse omgeving maken het verhaal erg beeldend. De Canadese auteur schrijft, naast historische romans, ook boeken voor jongeren.

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